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Full text of "Verdict On India"

which sets the tone of the whole place. One of the attendants
rushes forward, flings himself into the dust, and feverishly pats
the sandalled feet of the doctor who was showing us round. (This
is a favourite Indian gesture to indicate humility and respect;
many low-caste Indians precipitate themselves in this manner at
the feet of a native policeman of whom they have inquired the
way.) A few minutes later, this same attendant will be seen
mixing medicines in the dispensary. Has he washed in the mean-
time ? A glance at his hands suggested that he has not.
However, perhaps it is foolish to feel squeamish about it. Is
it not written in the books of Ayurveda, 'when we think of the
medical culture of the Aryan sages, we forget ourselves with joy
and feet proud of being born in India, the land purified by their
foot-dust5?
There is sure to be plenty of foot-dust in this institution, and
plenty of other dust as well, and whether it has any purifying
qualities is an open question. The amount of it is certainly a
tribute to the popularity of Ayurveda.
In the entrance, the professor pauses and points to the closely
packed crowd that is milling round the consulting tables.
'All this,' he says, 'is but one of the many results of Swadeshi !*
There is a fanatical ring in his voice as he pronounces that word.
4 It is one of the signs that we are surging towards freedom! *
And surging towards a great many other things, we reflect,
surveying the flushed and spotted faces of the wretched patients.
No sort of attempt appears to have been made to segregate
persons who are obviously suffering from infectious diseases. In
front of us are five or six young meu across whose bare chests
and shoulders is plainly stamped the rash which indicates
secondary syphilis. These unfortunates are about to be given a
cup of tea or a few pinches of crude arsenic^ and then dismissed
as^ cured*!
We feel like going up and saying 'for heaven's sake run away
from these deluded men.. .turn your back on it all and go to
a western doctor who will tell you the worst, and save you and
^your children from endless horrors.'
But what can be done ? The position is delicate in the extreme.
The Ayurvedic doctors are suspicious of all Western investigators ;